Message from Fr. Peter Andronache
Ode 6: Such as it received Jonah as an embryo, the sea beast disgorged him from its bowels intact. With the Virgin, though, when the Logos had dwelt in her taking on flesh, He came forth from her preserving her yet incorrupt. For from her no fluxion suffered He, and He kept her unaltered in childbirth. We read the story of Jonah on Holy Saturday when we see in his stay within the sea beast a prefigurement of Christ’s stay in Hades between His crucifixion and resurrection. Here, we are reminded of the teachings of the Church that the Theotokos is, as we sing in the Theotokion of grave mode, “virgin prior to bearing; and in bearing, a virgin; and after bearing still a virgin.” We are also reminded that the realities of God are often of a paradoxal nature: the Son of God becomes man, but does so without suffering change.
Ode 7: The Servants nurtured piously together, with contempt regarding the impious king’s decree, intrepidly faced the threat of holocaust, and while standing in the midst of flames they chanted thus, saying: O God of the fathers, You are blessed. The connection to Holy Saturday continues through a reference to the three youths. We speak again of the Theotokos, who is spoken of as a burning bush in several hymns. As the bush remained unburned at the presence of God, so the Theotokos remained unharmed by the fiery presence of the divinity within her. And, just as the youths blessed the Lord in their physical fire, the Theotokos chants “My soul magnifies the Lord” as she nourishes the Savior.
With love in Christ,